"Do not be afraid. Go on speaking and do not be silenced." --Acts 18:9
On the first Christian Pentecost, the Holy Spirit dealt in a magnificent way with tongues. First, the Spirit appeared in the form of "tongues as of fire" (Acts 2:3). The apostles yielded their formerly silent tongues to speak in both native and foreign languages, proclaiming the prophetic Word of God (Acts 2:4ff). Their hearers used their tongues to repent and ask how to be saved (Acts 2:37).
Once the Spirit has your tongue, the battle begins. Satan accuses you of being foolish (Acts 2:13) and attacks any fears you may have. The world attempts to intimidate and silence you. This is what the apostles experienced once the Spirit took over their tongues. Nevertheless, the apostles yielded to the inspiration of the Spirit, not to the attacks of Satan and the world.
When we yield our tongues to the Spirit, the pressure to stifle the Holy Spirit and hold our tongues is so fierce that the Lord personally assures us: "Do not be afraid. Go on speaking, and do not be silenced, for I am with you" (Acts 18:9).
Today is the first day of the Pentecost Novena, nine days of prayer to prepare to receive the Holy Spirit in fullness at Pentecost. Give the Lord your mind, heart, soul, and tongue. Ask the Lord to teach you "what to say and how to speak" (Jn 12:49). Allow the Holy Spirit to control your speech in both your native tongue and in the spiritual gift of tongues.
Prayer: Father, I ask You in Jesus' name to prepare my heart to be a worthy dwelling place for the Holy Spirit.
Promise: "I give you My assurance, whatever you ask the Father, He will give you in My name." --Jn 16:23
Praise: St. Isidore and his wife were united in Holy Matrimony. They accepted their sacramental graces in full and are now both canonized saints.
A calm mind is a great asset in this life. Without it, your devotional life will not bear much fruit. If your heart is troubled, you are vulnerable to the enemy of the soul. When you are agitated, you are not able to make good decisions. You will stumble into snares.
The enemy detests this peace in you. He knows that is the place where the Spirit of God dwells. That's why he devises such devilish ways to destroy this peace.
Avoid rash acts. Even if you are sure the Holy Spirit wants you to do something, wait. Put off doing it until your eagerness has declined. Introduced with that kind of self-control, a good work is more pleasing to God than if it were done hastily.
It is also necessary to overcome a certain inner regret. Sometimes we think our bad conscience is being generated by God when in fact it is the work of the devil. Here is the way to tell: If your regret results in greater humility and increases your desire to serve God, receive it with gratitude as a gift from heaven. If it creates anxiety, makes you sad, depressed, fearful and slow to do your duty, then we can be sure it has been suggested by the enemy. Disregard it.
Laurence Scupoli: The Spiritual Combat
My Utmost for His Highest
Daily devotionals by Oswald Chambers
. . . I am with you to deliver you,’ says the Lord --Jeremiah 1:8
God promised Jeremiah that He would deliver him personally— “. . . your life shall be as a prize to you . . .” (Jeremiah 39:18). That is all God promises His children. Wherever God sends us, He will guard our lives. Our personal property and possessions are to be a matter of indifference to us, and our hold on these things should be very loose. If this is not the case, we will have panic, heartache, and distress. Having the proper outlook is evidence of the deeply rooted belief in the overshadowing of God’s personal deliverance.
The Sermon on the Mount indicates that when we are on a mission for Jesus Christ, there is no time to stand up for ourselves. Jesus says, in effect, “Don’t worry about whether or not you are being treated justly.” Looking for justice is actually a sign that we have been diverted from our devotion to Him. Never look for justice in this world, but never cease to give it. If we look for justice, we will only begin to complain and to indulge ourselves in the discontent of self-pity, as if to say, “Why should I be treated like this?” If we are devoted to Jesus Christ, we have nothing to do with what we encounter, whether it is just or unjust. In essence, Jesus says, “Continue steadily on with what I have told you to do, and I will guard your life. If you try to guard it yourself, you remove yourself from My deliverance.” Even the most devout among us become atheistic in this regard— we do not believe Him. We put our common sense on the throne and then attach God’s name to it. We do lean to our own understanding, instead of trusting God with all our hearts (see Proverbs 3:5-6).
The First Gaze
Monday, June 30, 2014
I am just like you. My immediate response to most situations is with reactions of attachment, defensiveness, judgment, control, and analysis. I am better at calculating than contemplating.
Let’s admit that we all start there. The False Self seems to have the “first gaze” at almost everything.
The first gaze is seldom compassionate. It is too busy weighing and feeling itself: “How will this affect me?” or “How can I get back in control of this situation?” This leads us to an implosion, a self-preoccupation that cannot enter into communion with the other or the moment. In other words, we first feel our feelings before we can relate to the situation and emotion of the other. Only after God has taught us how to live “undefended,” can we immediately stand with and for the other, and in the present moment. It takes lots of practice.
On my better days, when I am “open, undefended, and immediately present,” as Gerald May says, I can sometimes begin with a contemplative mind and heart. Often I can get there later and even end there, but it is usually a second gaze. The True Self seems to always be ridden and blinded by the defensive needs of the False Self. It is an hour-by-hour battle, at least for me. I can see why all spiritual traditions insist on daily prayer, in fact, morning, midday, evening, and before we go to bed, too! Otherwise, I can assume that I am back in the cruise control of small and personal self-interest, the pitiable and fragile “Richard self.”
Adapted from “Contemplation and Compassion: The Second Gaze”
(article by Fr. Richard available free on CAC website)
Gateway to Silence:
May I see with eyes of compassion.
“Do not be afraid.” We have read these words in the bible many times. We sing it in our songs. We hear our family and friends tell us not to worry. But we go on our fearful way, thinking our worry will solve the problem and then our fears will be gone with the wind.
We know in our hearts that Jesus is taking care of us. But why can't we get our thoughts to go along with our hearts? Why should that be hard? And the answer is in our humanity. Our weakness. We are tempted away from God and fall so easily into being lost in our questions. So we spend our time worrying, wasting our time and days. Worrying doesn't help anything, it just takes us away from Jesus. Worrying takes us out of the presence of God in the now and leads us nowhere.
I want you to remember something. Jesus is holding your hand. Just like Isaiah 41:13 says, 'I am holding you by your right hand – I, the Lord your God. And I say to you, do not be afraid. I am here to help you.'
Those are the words we need to live by. God is with us at all times, holding our hand. When we are worrying, we are letting go of Jesus' hand and saying, “Hold on Jesus. I am going to sit here alone for awhile. I need to figure this out.” Why would we want to make the choice to let go of Jesus' hand? Why would we want to tell Jesus to hang on a minute, while we worry about something we cannot change at that moment. Why would we let go of the loving hand of Jesus.
He has a wonderful plan for us. Part of that plan is allowing our Father to take care of us, allowing Him to hold us by the hand. In our most difficult times, when we do not feel God's presence and feel abandoned, those are the moments we need to hold on fast. Don't let go! Talk with Jesus, pray with Jesus and trust in Jesus. “Do not be afraid.”
By: Mary Maddox
Prayerful Path/Mary Maddox